Marriage is now an institution in which straight, gay and transgender couples can participate equally.
Three days of speeches and debate in Federal Parliament finally came to an end on Thursday evening at about 6pm when politicians voted to change to marriage act.
Albury for Marriage Equality’s Toni Johnson stopped her car as the debate neared the end to livestream the verdict.
“It’s just been so long waiting, it just doesn’t seem real,” she said.
Ms Johnson has been fighting for marriage equality since 2014 and said she has watched as the Border has grown in its acceptance.
“The more we got out there in out town, the more people got with it,” she said.
She has found Albury to be an accepting city, saying people from both sides of the debate have been able to have respectful discussions.
Ms Johnson has been with her partner for 14 years and engaged for five, and while they plan to marry she said they will “take their time with it” after many other couple tie the knot as soon as possible from January.
As the public gallery in Parliament broke into an impromptu version of “We are Australian” yesterday, Indi MP Cathy McGowan put her arms around the other MPs and beamed.
She grabbed an “Indi said yes” sign to carry around the chamber during celebrations and helped fellow crossbenchers to unfurl and proudly raise a rainbow flag..
Ms McGowan said it was a historic day and “Parliament reflected Australia being our best selves”.
Farrer MP Sussan Ley was one of the Coalition members to vote against every amendment put up by the conservative members of her party on Thursday for extra protection on religious freedoms.
These included offering specific exemptions to civil and defence force marriage celebrants, allowing them to refuse service, and ensuring charities did not lose their status for being against same-sex marriage.
The argument from those in the majority was that the amendments were not necessary because discrimination was already not permitted.